All weather, Flat, Hurdles, Fences
Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (3.5 hours from London Approximately)
Bus from (43,44,45 from Haymarket bus station)
Railway station to Racecourse (15 minutes by cab, 20 mins by bus)
Taxis plentiful in the city centre, but a little chaotic at the track.
Three main stands and corporate boxes. There is a premier area which lines up with the finish line. We ate in the dining option on a shared table and had access to a private seating area which gave an excellent view and shelter from inclement weather. It was fireworks nights so there were entertainments for the children, but there seems to be plenty of space and places to eat and drink without massive queues.
We stayed at the Grey Street hotel, but would not recommend. There are a massive number of hotels in the city and over 1000 restaurants, so there will be something to suit your taste.
Grandstand, premier and dining options.
(2) Return before challenge complete. Possibly to see some grass racing, although the flood lit all weather is excellent and as bright as day/night cricket.
04 November 2017– UK (39), Irish (3), Rest of the World (2)
Our trip to Newcastle was something of a flying one and brought Madam Hoof and I tantalising close to the 40 tracks in the UK (Next visit will be Hexham in December). There were good reasons with our busy schedules that this was the case, but it did lead us to a delightful conclusion, we will have to come back. Not only to the racetrack but to Newcastle itself. Previous Madam Hoof has visited for Hen-do (as one does) and I have passed through on the train, but this is first time we have experienced the city together and it was a marvellous thing. As I said before, one reason for the challenge is to see parts of the country we have not visited before and enjoy how amazing England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland truly are. The welcome was very friendly and the architecture beautiful, but that is not the point of the blog, so I shall stop digressing.
Ignoring the fact that we stayed overnight, if we had come for the day, it was easy to get from the train station or town centre up to the track. As shown above there are three bus routes that go straight to the track and it was less than a fiver for us both each way. The bus takes between 15 and 20 minutes if you are planning on your timing, but there is a half mile walk from the main road to the track itself, so beware of this. In terms of taxis, they appear to be plentiful in town but after the racing it was all a bit hit and miss as people did rather jump the queue at times.
We made the decision as this was a twilight event with fireworks afterwards that having a dining table as a base of operations and a place to get warm was a good idea and it proved to be just the case. The temperature over the last few days seems to have dropped ten degrees and the is a fairly exposed sight without a great deal of cover, so if you are going to be outside a lot, wrap up. On the dining front Madam Hoof and I were placed on a shared table which was set for 10 (rather tight) but in the end, there were only six of us. In these circumstances, a shared table can be kill or cure. If it were not racing, it might be slightly painful, but we were really pleased with the excellent company we kept, both couples being happy to chat and interesting to listen to. I will say it over and over again, racing folk are basically good folk. The addition of the Breeders Cup from Del Mar added to the betting fun.
The course is a well set out one, with my favourite configuration of parade ring in front of the track, which stops the need for awful tidal flow of some tracks. What is really very impressive about Newcastle is the effectiveness of the lighting. Once the night started to set in, the floodlights made it almost as bright as day and this added to the whole impact of the day.
We will come back, firstly for the city, but also for the brilliant race track and the really great staff and officials who made the evening and the fireworks run like clockwork.